Saturday, October 27, 2007

Microsoft to Install Windows on Laptops from OLPC

Microsoft Corp. this week said that it is working on a version of Windows XP operating system compatible with laptops from One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) non-profit organization. The company said that Windows XP may work already on the current XO model, which was once supposed to sell for $100, however, the software giant is likely to aim future versions of the notebook too.

“We’re spending a nontrivial amount of money on [making a basic version of Windows XP compatible with OLPC’s XO]. […] We remain hopeful with our progress to date, we still have significant work ahead to finalize our analysis and testing processes. At the end of the day, there are no guarantees,” Microsoft corporate vice president Will Poole said in an interview on Thursday, reports Reuters news-agency.

It is important for Microsoft Corp. to enter the emerging markets with its products since in other scenario the markets will rely on competing Linux operating system and Microsoft will have to invest into advertising and marketing programs to enter those markets eventually.

Among the concerns that Microsoft has in regards of the OLPC’s XO personal computer are performance constraints. Minimum system requirements for Windows XP include 233MHz x86 central processing unit and 128MB of memory, which is something that the current OLPC laptop has, but besides Windows XP requires 1.5GB of hard disk drive space, which means that Microsoft needs to substantially cut-down features of the system in order to fit it onto 1GB flash storage of the XO.

“We still have plenty of work to do in determining if the highly constrained performance, power, and memory in the first generation XO laptops will be compatible with Windows and popular Windows applications,” Mr. Poole added.

Current OLPC XO laptop features AMD Geode LX-700 processor with 433MHz clock-speed and built-in graphics controller, 256MB of PC-2100 (DDR 266MHz) memory, 1GB NAND flash that substitutes hard disk drive, 7.5” screen with 1200x900 resolution, wireless and wired network adapters as well as integrated webcam, microphone, speakers and so on.

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